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Gatland: Robbie's job would be safe in any other country

Unfair pressure … Robbie Deans calls the shots during training for Australia's Test match against Wales on Saturday. He has received the unlikely support of opposition coach Warren Gatland.

Unfair pressure … Robbie Deans calls the shots during training for Australia's Test match against Wales on Saturday. He has received the unlikely support of opposition coach Warren Gatland. Photo: Getty Images

CARDIFF: Robbie Deans is in a ''no-win'' situation and his job as Wallabies coach would be safe in any other country based on the results he has produced, says Warren Gatland.

The British and Irish Lions and Wales head coach defended his rival and compatriot in the lead-up to Australia's fourth and final Test of their European tour, against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, saying nothing but regular victories over the All Blacks was good enough for Australian rugby fans. ''I think the lack of consistency is only because they can't beat the All Blacks, but not many of us can,'' Gatland said.

''I feel for Robbie Deans a little bit; he's under a massive amount of pressure and I feel like sometimes he's in a no-win situation. But I do understand the expectations in terms of consistency but I think that comes down to the fact they've been missing a lot of key players and a lot of experienced players and I think they'll get a lot of benefit from being able to blood some of those [new] players [this year].''

Speaking at a briefing in Cardiff Castle to promote next year's Lions tour, Gatland questioned some of Deans's recent tactics against New Zealand, and said it was hard to get a read on which style the Wallabies would use against the Lions.

''I was surprised that the first [Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney] against the All Blacks they've tried to run everything without the personnel and then you bring someone like [Quade] Cooper in for the [second Bledisloe in Auckland] and you employ a kicking game,'' he said. ''I found some of those things a little bit strange, in the way they approached things.''

The Wallabies have slipped to third in the IRB world rankings, three games into their end-of-year tour, after a loss to France and victories against England and Italy. A win over Wales would put them back at No.2 behind the All Blacks.

Asked to elaborate on why he believed Deans was in a no-win situation, Gatland said the Wallabies' results under the former Crusaders coach were solid but not enough - for Australians - without regular wins against the All Blacks.

''It's a bit hard when you win the Tri Nations last year, you finish second in the [Rugby Championship] this year, you finish third in the World Cup and you're number [three] in the world and people want to get rid of you,'' he said.

''Most countries or most coaches would be pretty safe with those numbers and statistics. It probably doesn't help when he comes from over the ditch.''

Gatland said Australians were accustomed to overachieving in sport and expected nothing less than being world-beaters. ''I have a massive amount of respect for what [Australia has] achieved,'' he said.

''It's been difficult for Robbie coming in there … [the Wallabies] have found it tough over the last few years, even though they won that [Tri Nations] game in Brisbane last year and then this year there was that drawn [final Bledisloe Cup match] that they probably should have won, but they've found that tough and people expect Australia to beat the All Blacks - not every game, but regularly. I think that's been potentially his biggest downfall.''

Gatland will announce his complete coaching staff on December 12. He spent much of Wednesday's briefing playing down the Lions' chances in Australia next year, declaring both the captaincy and prestigious five-eighth starting spot ''wide open''. The Six Nations tournament, which starts in February and includes England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as France and Italy, will be the Lions selectors' most important hunting ground.

Gatland also weighed in on the Quade Cooper debate, saying the estranged Wallabies five-eighth's recent public criticisms had hurt Deans. Nevertheless, Australia needed the attacking edge offered by Cooper and the likes of Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Will Genia and Digby Ioane, Gatland said.

''When they're at full strength they do have a real four or five players with real firepower, that attacking threat from all aspects,'' he said. ''For me, those players are the real key game-changers, players that can force missed tackles, make breaks, but give you so many attacking options as a No.10 that you've got those threats around you.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 3 0 3 0 -96 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Namibia 3 0 3 0 -59 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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